Judge Tosses Out Conviction Of Driver Who Fatally Doored Cyclist
A Brooklyn judge tossed out the conviction of Krystal Francis, who was found guilty of driving with a suspended license in February for an incident in which she allegedly caused the death of a cyclist. In September 2010, Francis allegedly opened the door of her parked car along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, forcing 23-year-old cyclist Jasmine Herron to swerve into the street where she was struck and killed by a B45 bus. Francis allegedly left the scene of Herron's death to attend a party. Yesterday Supreme Court Justice Guy Mangano stated that he was throwing out the conviction because a DMV employee's testimony wasn't sufficient, and violated Francis' constitutional rights. “While I’m aware of the tragedy involved in this case, the law is the law,” the
Daily News quotes Judge Mangano as saying. “I’m not in a position to change the law. I have to follow the law.”
Initially Francis denied causing the accident and her attorney argued that she only briefly left the scene to pick up her mother, and later returned. Prosecutors
initially wanted to charge Francis with leaving the scene on an accident, which is a felony. However the charge was dismissed because Judge Mangano pointed out to jurors that the statute requires "a moving vehicle, not a parked one. The accident is irrelevant."
Herron's mother, Wendy Clouse, commented to the paper through her attorney: "I cannot understand how a judge can change the verdict of 12 jurors. This girl did something illegal that led to my daughter’s death. To make it worse, she left the scene.” Clouse is pursuing a civil suit against Francis and the MTA, which Francis' attorney argues is where the case belongs. “This wasn’t the proper venue to resolve this but we’re happy with the outcome,” lawyer Michael Baum says.
"It's outrageous that there will be no penalty for the series of careless decisions that ended Jasmine Herron's life," Transportation Alternatives spokesman Michael Murphy says. "But this is hardly the first time that a dangerous driver avoided facing justice in our city. The Mayor needs to follow the recommendations of Council Members Vacca and Vallone and take a comprehensive look at the way law enforcement and our courts handle dangerous driving cases with a Mayoral Taskforce. "